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Duane Simpkins - American's new men's basketball coach

American University announced on Saturday the hiring of its next men’s head basketball coach. Former George Mason assistant coach, Duane Simpkins, will take over at American after ten seasons under Mike Brennan.

“We are thrilled to welcome Duane Simpkins, a proven talent and respected coach into our AU Athletics family,” said American Athletic Director Dr. Billy Walker. “His passion for positively shaping the lives of young student athletes was evident during the selection process. His close ties to the area as a coach and player, along with a tremendous recruiting acumen and unbending character, make him an ideal choice to lead our program.”

Simpkins coached at George Mason as an assistant from 2013-2023 and makes his move to AU in conjunction with former George Mason Head Coach Kim English taking the head coaching job at Providence.

His DMV ties extend all the way back to his time as a player at Maryland. From 1992-1996 as a Terp, Simpkins started 90 games and averaged 9.4 PPG in his career, including 12.1 PPG his senior season.

He first got into coaching in 1999 as an assistant at Bishop O’Connell HS in Arlington, VA. In 2005, he got his first head coaching gig at Sidwell Friends School in D.C. After three seasons there, he took the head job at St. Albans School in D.C. where he remained for four seasons.

Before becoming an assistant at George Mason in 2013, Simpkins spent two years as the coordinator of basketball operations at Towson.

Now, he becomes a head coach at the college level for the very first time, having held several positions in the basketball world, all around the DMV.

Simpkins worked under three head coaches at George Mason and enjoyed just four winning seasons in ten years. Most recently in 2022-23, the Patriots went 20-13, the best season in six years.

The DMV native inherits an American program that hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2014 and has finished above .500 in the Patriot League just twice in the last ten years.

We’ve seen multiple programs in the DMV begin to turn things around in recent years.

Kenny Blakeney at Howard just took Howard to its first NCAA Tournament in 31 years and Chris Caputo at George Washington clinched the best finish for the team in seven years.

Simpkins will look to join the group of DMV coaches to take their programs to new heights in year one at the helm; exciting days ahead in Northwest D.C.

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